Excitement is plentiful surrounding the Baltimore Ravens as we grow closer to the 2023 NFL season. Between the revamped wide receiver corps and a determined and extended Lamar Jackson at quarterback, it is clear to see why spirits are high in Baltimore right now. Potentially the most important domino to determine the success of this season for the Ravens, however, is new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. After helping to lead the Georgia Bulldogs to back-to-back National Championships in college football, Monken will now replace Greg Roman for the Ravens in his return to the NFL.
There are many questions regarding how Monken’s offense will look in comparison to the unit that Roman deployed for the past four seasons in Baltimore. How much will Jackson run going forward? How much more will the Ravens pass the ball this season? Will Monken lean more toward heavy personnel groupings featuring multiple tight ends or will he spread the field at a higher rate with an improved group of receivers? When asking one pressing question for every new offensive play caller, it was not one of the aforementioned questions that The Athletic’s Mike Jones presented for Monken, but instead, whether or not he could help Jackson regain his MVP form and reach another level as a passer.
“Fresh off his massive contract extension, Jackson wants to contend for the Super Bowl and MVP,” Jones wrote. “The league’s top dual-threat quarterback hasn’t passed for 3,000 yards since 2019, when he was the second unanimous MVP in league history (Tom Brady was the first in 2010). Jackson had 36 touchdown passes and just six interceptions in 2019, playing in 15 games. His touchdown totals dropped to 26 in 2020 (15 games), and 16 in 2021 and 17 in 2022 (12 games both seasons). Monken knows how to design championship-caliber offenses, at least on the college level, where he helped guide Georgia to back-to-back national titles. But Jackson is a far different athlete than the quarterbacks at Georgia, and questions remain about the Ravens’ skill players despite the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. How different will the Ravens offense look with Monken in and Greg Roman out? Jackson said he hopes to do less running and more passing. Can Monken help him accomplish this goal? Jackson did direct a pro-style offense at Louisville and was just as dangerous with his arm and legs, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016.”
While spurts of brilliance have occurred, the most notable being a 37 of 43 passing performance for 442 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts in a comeback victory in 2021, it is a fact that Jackson has been less consistent as a passer after lighting the NFL world on fire in 2019. This can be chalked up to a number of different potential factors, including the declining performance of the offensive line prior to the unit’s bounceback in 2022, Roman’s passing schemes, or the lack of reliable talent at pass catcher. But as the NFL’s highest-paid player now, Jackson will have to rise above any such annoyances and play to the level he is capable of in order to lead the Ravens to the tantalizing Lombardi Trophy. Monken can help Jackson remain more consistent by putting his quarterback into more favorable positions as a passer while also scheming for other players to get the ball and shoulder some of the load Jackson has been tasked with previously as a runner in Roman’s offense.